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Give marketing a holiday facelift

How to give your marketing strategy a facelift before the holidays

Regardless of your business model, key messages, and target audience, it’s wise to adjust your approach to marketing in the run-up to holidays.

For businesses aimed at consumers, the “holiday season” is when they bring in the most revenue and see profits. For service business, it’s a time when you may be quieter, but ideally, your audience is still browsing, planning for the year to come, considering the options of what to invest in for their business.

The last couple of years have been unusual with the pandemic and people’s spending shifting to essential items rather than whimsical ones.

In the retail sector, there is hope people are now ready to return to normal shopping levels and they’ll see an increase this year. Deloitte recently released statistics forecasting a growth of 11 to 14% for e-commerce sales and about 9% for holiday retail overall. The numbers and expectations are positive. Your only task is figuring out the best ways to market to your target audience and reach them where they are.

The same tired strategy you’ve used for years may not cut it anymore. Now is a great time to revamp your promotional efforts. What makes a great holiday marketing strategy? Here are some things you can implement now before the season starts.

1. Simplify offers

Instead of throwing tons of different offers and options at your customers, look at the specials they’ve responded to in the past and try to predict which sales they might be most likely to partake in this holiday season.

Don’t make things too complicated. If you want to offer a percentage off on only some items, create a page on your website listing all the qualifying products.

2. Offer personalised gift cards

Gift cards are an excellent method for building referrals and retention. Those who love your brand will give out gift cards to their family and friends, thus forcing them to give your store a try. It’s even more innovative for service businesses.

By the same token, if you offer a bonus gift card whenever they buy a certain amount, you encourage your customers to return and spend money after the holidays as they use up their credits.

You can gain multiple new customers from each current client by promoting gift cards as the perfect present.

3. Tell a story

Who doesn’t love a good, heartwarming story for the holidays? Plan your marketing around storytelling efforts. Find a customer with a special occasion, a unique reason they love your brand or how you’ve helped go above and beyond, and share a video of their journey.

Talk about why you started the company, special events you participate in during the holidays or challenges you’ve overcome. Your holiday marketing should tie into the season, but it’s okay to stray outside the parameters of the holidays, too.

4. Understand audience needs

Dig a little deeper into audience demographics and segmentation. What does each group of your customers need most? What are their expectations from your brand?

Use some psychological principles to figure out their pain points. Survey them to gather information about their needs. For example, if most of your customers are full-time managers, they may not have time to shop and wrap gifts. You can offer a guide and gift-wrapping services to meet their needs.

Market to your audience based on solving their pain points. In the example above, you might say something like, “Too busy to shop and wrap presents? Let us take the guesswork and grunt work out of the process. Here is our handy shop and wrap page.”

5. Review analytic data

Look at what’s working for your business to drive revenue. Where does most of your traffic come from? Which ads are most beneficial? Should you spend more on digital or static advertising?

Hootsuite’s Social Trends 2021 report found 73% of marketing professionals believed new customer acquisition was their top priority. Social media is still king when it comes to reaching targeted audiences in the most cost-effective way possible.

Review everything from your email open rates to your social media strategy. Are you on the same platform where your audience hangs out? Should you add any additional social sites? Is your interaction effective?

6. Rethink influencer types

Celebrity influencers may still have a bit of sway with some people, but celebrities are out. During the height of the pandemic, many were seen as out of touch and posted things that upset their followers, such as enjoying luxuries others couldn’t due to job loss or supply shortages.

What is more popular is small bloggers and micro-influencers. People want someone they can relate to. The girl next door, the fellow mom at preschool, and the home chef all have something to say.

Look for influencers with an audience matching who you want to reach. Talk to them about their vision for your holiday campaign. Make sure their users engage with their posts, sharing them, commenting and saying they ordered an item.

7. Tap into community events

People are ready to attend local events all over the country. Look at what’s going on near you that you can tap into. For example, if you sell boutique children’s clothing, perhaps a booth of holiday-themed clothes at your local harvest fair is a great way to reach new customers and show off what you sell.

Look for ways to get involved in your local community, too. You can sponsor a little league team in exchange for a banner at the ballpark. Donate to the local high school newspaper in exchange for some free advertising. Look for ways to reach people where you normally wouldn’t.

Be ready to pivot

In a rapidly changing marketplace, it’s hard to know what things might bring success and what efforts might fall flat. Be ready to change on a dime and get rid of promotions that aren’t working. If something is working, expand immediately to reach an even wider audience. Watch for the signs of a successful campaign and repeat the things that work until you find success.


Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly. She was the director at a marketing agency before becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.

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